Follow the Women was founded in 2004, and this year 120 women from the United States, England, Iran, Italy, Jordan, China, Japan, Poland, Turkey, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, France, Germany, Belgium and Cyprus biked all over Lebanon visiting Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps, not-for-profit foundations, former prison camps, cafes, schools and even a micro-brewery and soap factory.
Category Archives: Middle East
The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration has set the stage for some long overdue historical truth-telling. On November 11 in Cambridge, MA, two dozen speakers will examine how the Zionist project was implemented in historic Palestine, and consider its long-term consequences for Palestinians, world Jewry, the United States, the United Nations and international law during the all-day conference: ‘Balfour’s Legacy: Confronting the Consequences.’
Dan Freeman-Maloy writes, “The worsening crisis in Palestine reflects more than a local record of colonial crimes, severe as these have been. Responsibility for it is global. Arundhati Roy was right to describe the Palestine tragedy as one of “imperial Britain’s festering, blood-drenched gifts to the modern world.” It is also a product of a history of racism and empire that extended across most of the West. On this centennial of the Balfour Declaration, reflection on this shared culpability should serve as a reminder of the responsibility for the political action that comes with it.”
Steven Salaita travels to Ireland and has an unexpected encounter with a border agent who shows support for Palestine: “By the time I was shivering in Dublin’s oceanic air, it occurred to me that the customs agent hadn’t provided special treatment; he was merely treating me with the sort of dignity proffered to anybody seen as human. I am unaccustomed to that kind of normalcy. In the anti-Zionist’s world, venality is routine.”
Imagine that Italian fascists argued that anti-fascism is anti-Italian prejudice? That is what Zionists do in the name of Judaism. No other political interest group regularly demands, through bullying, social and professional slander, and orchestrated campaigns of ostracism, that we accept their particular ideology as per se legitimate and lovable.
Miko Peled says that you cannot believe in free speech and then say that it is criminal to deny the Holocaust. And he says that racists should be denied platforms on the left– and that includes Zionists.
Miko Peled’s suggestion at a British Labour conference that “Holocaust: yes or no” should be open to debate, has thrown raw meat to Holocaust deniers as well as Israel apologists. Even as he says that Zionism should not be debated.
British Jews condemn the Balfour Declaration ahead of the 100th anniversary and call for a British reckoning with its consequences. “What came out of Balfour is something that Jews should be ashamed of,” says Antony Lerman. “This is for me a tragedy,” says Jacqueline Rose. “I have nothing to celebrate,” says Avi Shlaim.
A viral video at Haaretz in Hebrew shows Israeli celebrities decrying kosher slaughter practices and declaring that they are vegans. Israelis can watch any number of videos documenting the killing and abuse of Palestinians but they haven’t become anti-Zionists or even vocal anti-Occupation activists. Veganism is a way for Israelis to sacrifice something while avoiding the Palestinian issue.
The witch-hunt against ostensible ‘anti-semites’ in the British Labour has intensified into ‘thought crime’ persecution. A Jewish professor was expelled from Labour because of what Jews “feel and know” about his argument that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.
Pro-Israel activists in the UK Labour Party say there has been a surge of anti-semitism in the party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader two years ago. Moshe Machover, an anti-Zionist philosophy professor born and raised in Israel, appears to be among the first Labour members to be netted by a rule change on anti-semitism for an article he wrote, paradoxically titled “Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism”. As Jonathan Cook shows the pro-Israel activists’ concerns are much less about anti-semitism than about Corbyn and the trend he represents, including the possibility that Palestinians will be put at the heart of a Labour government’s foreign policy.
“I didn’t know anything,” Danish journalist Herbert Pundik says of the Tantura massacre in Israel in 1948. Herbert Pundik has been authoritatively shaping Danish public on Israel. But he was a Mossad spy whilst being a journalist and leading editor, and was serving in the Zionist army when an Israeli town was ethnically cleansed in 1948. He turns 90 and is celebrated by Danish media.
British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at last week’s annual party conference included an unequivocal declaration of solidarity with the Palestinians. The speech came as sections of his party’s establishment demonstrated once again that they are determined to subvert his leadership, using charges of antisemitism to curtail progressive reforms. However, there is a new movement of Jews inside Labour, including anti-Zionists and those who support BDS, that may challenge some long-held party positions and give Corbyn the support he needs to buck the neoliberal status quo.
Zohra Drif’s Algeria memoir has hard lessons for Israel/Palestine — the colonized will resist violent occupation by any means necessary.
Palestinians and Israelis watched last week’s referendum of Iraq’s Kurds with special interest. Israeli officials and many ordinary Palestinians were delighted – for very different reasons – to see an overwhelming vote to split away from Iraq. Palestinian support for the Kurds is not difficult to understand. Palestinians, too, were overlooked when Britain and France carved up the Middle East into states a century ago. Israel’s complex interests in Kurdish independence are harder to unravel.
The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration is nearly upon us and its 67 words of apparent British imperial generosity towards the Jewish people are already taking on sacred status. Robert Cohen writes, “For the sake of future Jewish generations, not to mention historians of the 20th century, it would be a good idea to put a stop to this manufacturing of holiness, this muddling of religion and nationalism. It’s only adding to the mountain of historical and political deceit that blocks the road to a place of justice and peace.”
Israel should stop threatening Lebanon because it could lead to war in which many thousands would die for no reason. And Israel faces no real threat from Hezbollah. The Israeli bellicosity is the product of Israeli paranoia: primal Jewish fear of annihilation that is illogical under the circumstances.
Zohra Drif’s first-hand account of Algeria’s fight for independence against French occupation has vital lessons for Israel/Palestine.
Former Algerian female fighter Zohra Drif writes in her new memoir, “Perhaps the reader of today expects me to regret having placed bombs in public places frequented by European civilians. I do not. To do so would be to obscure the central problem of settler colonialism by trying to pass off the European civilians of the day for (at best) mere tourists visiting Algeria or (at worst) the “natural” inheritors of our land in place of its legitimate children.”
“If we want people to change their hearts and minds, to dig deep and shift their feelings about the mythology of Israel, we might just start with a story,” writes Liz Rose in a review of Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman’s book “Kingdom of Olives and Ash.”
During the high holidays, Jews must consider the nature of the state that claims to speak in their name: Political Zionism in practice in Israel has produced a settler colonial state founded on the basis of establishing an Arab free state, where Jewish trauma, aspirations, and history are privileged at the expense of everyone else and this continues to this moment.
On the high holidays, Phil Weiss notices that few of his Jewish friends are observant. One went camping. Another made a comment about their Buddhist spouse. A third made a blasphemous joke with pleasure: It took 2000 years for the Jews to get Chinese food. Many are intermarried. So everything that Alan Dershowitz (The Vanishing American Jew) warned us about is happening– “and still I shrug.”
Young people in Gaza are at the end of their rope spiritually after three wars and 10 years of blockade. They want to find a sliver of hope in the news that the Hamas government is in talks with the Fatah faction in the West Bank, possibly ending Hamas’s isolation in global affairs.
Elisha Wiesel’s Rosh Hashanah remembrance of his late father Eli Wiesel puts recognition of the “Jewish state of Israel” on a par with the rights of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and fails to reckon with his father’s complicity in the suffering of Palestinians. But the high holidays call on us to witness and move forward, Marc Ellis writes.
Two Gaza musicians were barred from participating in the West Bank tour of the Palestinian Youth Orchestra, and the Israeli Supreme Court affirmed the ban. But a technicality in the Israeli bureaucratic apparatus meant they could participate in the West Bank anyway– and the world did not end, as the rights group Gisha, which fought for the musicians, noted.